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Remembered Today:

High Wood - 15th September 1916


delta
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Have been reading details of High Wood on a wonderful site called BattlfieldsWW1. The author describes a tank called "Clan Ruthven" which was stuck on a tree stump. This is a new name to me and I have asked for more deatils but..........

Has anyone else heard the name before

Stephen :ph34r:

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Yes, I have but its not in the index for either of the books I thought it was, so cant give too many details Im sorry to say. I swear it was in The Hell they called High Wood but may have bene in Lyn McDonalds Somme. Think it was the one that wandered around the perimiter for a while, then barrelled into the wood only to be grounded on the stump.

Hope this will jog someones memory who can provide firmer details as I cant see it for looking?

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Quick look at Trevor Pidgeon's book "The Tanks at Flers" doesn't show it in the appendices or index, but "Clan leslie" was in No 4 Section of C Company, so it's possible your tank was in that section, attached to 6th Divn, tho' 2 were in reserve but later with 47th Div and Guards Div (one to each). If it was ditched in High Wood, is it possible that it was C23, attached to 47 Div?

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The footnote on p219 of the Hell they called High Wood gives C13 commanded by Lt. Strother as Clan Ruthven.

It was given the route west of High Wood and traversed across the front of 141st Brigade.

It "entered High Wood along Route E whre it met with a stubborn tree stump which pressed up against it belly. The tank was ditched about 50 yards inside the south-western face, a shell destroying it abou midday on 21st September" (p223)

Steve.

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Knew this rang a bell...

Ages back but read this Topic.

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...42&hl=High+Wood

Don't ask me which is right C13 or C23... I would go with the Tanks at Flers, myself...

Steve.

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Steve and Steven

Thanx for linking me to the old thread; it amazes me that it is almost 12 months since I asked that initial question on High Wood (and I purchased "The Tanks at Flers" as a result).

As you say, Trevor Pidgeon nailed down the fourth tank as C23 commanded by Andrew Henderson (C13 was, if i remember correctly, Sir John Dashwood's) but Trevot does not give C2e a name.

That said, I have no reason to doubt that C23 was "Clan Ruthven"; names stick more easily in a most people's memory than numbers, so I will follow that.

Once again, thanx to all for a fast and helpful response

Stephen ;)

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  • 1 year later...

Further evidence that C23 was Clan Ruthven - see WFA Stand To Magazine Jan 2008 page 40

Sgt Stephen Dury's diary for 23 October 1917

Stephen

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Hi

r u a knowledgeble chap on tanks as i have a lot of ww1 tank parts that I dont know what they are plenty of tank corp medals and all the pics of Major Fernie Co of G battlaion official pics and his personel pics from Salisbury through the war im new to the site and not very knowledgeble on what buttons to press

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Matthew - welcome to the forum

I'm not very good ofn the mechancial side of tanks - more interested those who crewed them but post them up - there is bound to be a Pal who can help

Stephen

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Sadly Trevor doesn't list the number

Stephen

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It "entered High Wood along Route E whre it met with a stubborn tree stump which pressed up against it belly.

The Mk I had a design fault in that the floor plates were too flexible and could be pressed upwards so that they fowled the flywheel thus stalling the engine.

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Got a feeling that there's a pic in the IWM online collection that's captioned Clan Ruthven. Sorry, can't check just now - been sent out on an errand!

Gwyn

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I've just reread the appropriate chapter in 'A Yankee in the Trenches', (an account by an American volunteer in the British Army) who, as a corporal accompanied the tanks in the High Wood attack. He attributes his personal survival to the fact that he tucked himself in behind the rear horns of one of the tanks and walked there across to the German lines. It protected him from mg fire but not shrapnel. He mentions three tanks being 'stuck' having run out of fuel but also describes how a party was able to creep out to them later, carrying fuel and recover them. If so none of these was 'stumped'. It would suggest that the tank in question must have been somewhere out on the flank.

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C23 was on the left flank and did not penetrate the wood to any real degree - map to follow

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Comparative locations

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Got a feeling that there's a pic in the IWM online collection that's captioned Clan Ruthven. Sorry, can't check just now - been sent out on an errand!

Gwyn

Sorry, it wasn't IWM. It was AWM! Here's the pic:

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Thanx for posting the image - best one I have seen!

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The AWM caption says the tank in the picture "is believed to be" Clan Ruthven, so I can't be certain it actually is. The AWM go on to say it was commanded by 2/Lt Henderson and was destroyed on the edge of High Wood. Does that tie up with any of your information, Delta? Also the photo was lent to the AWM by Lt T R Lyons, if that means anything.

Gwyn

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Trevor Pidgeon identified the commander as Andrew Henderson in "The Tanks at Flers"; C

23 was the part of the Corps reserve then it was tasked to assist 47th (London) Div assault on High Wood. It moved parrallel to High Wood's NW side, just inside the wood itself, when it fouled on a tree stump, and got stuck fast. It then continued to provide fire support but this were dangerously close to D13, who comander Sampson crossed the wood to identify the problem. He was told by Henderson that C23 was laying down a protective barrage. The tank remained where it was stuck until after 1945.

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